Easter gardening tips

Horticulturalist Jamie Butterworth chooses his top tips for bulletproof plants to pick up on the busiest weekend in the gardening calendar – the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend.

Sanguisorba ‘Red Thunder’ 

If you’re looking to turn heads with something a little more unusual, this Sanguisorba is just the ticket. When it first emerges in Spring its early growth provides excellent ground cover before really coming into its own in Summer with branches topped with claret coloured buttons. It adds height and movement to a border and looks amazing with grasses. 

Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna' 

Perfect for pollinators and unpalatable for deers and rabbits, this Salvia has become a firm favourite over recent years - often appearing in show gardens.  It has deep purple flowers that sit above aromatic strong bushy deep green foliage, it’s reliably drought tolerant with a fantastically long flowering period from June to November.

Euphorbia charcias subsp. Wulfenii 

This is a great border staple with its evergreen whorls of bluey-grey foliage contrasting perfectly with its zesty green flowers with bronze eyes from March through to May.  It works equally well in minimalist schemes due to its architectural appearance, it’s very drought tolerant and rabbit and deer resistant. It can be an irritant to skin and eyes so should be handled with care. 

Amelanchier lamarkii

Every garden should have a tree if possible and this is one of my favourites.  Beautiful all year round, the branches are smothered in ethereal white flowers in Spring that perfectly complement early bronze foliage. The autumn berries are a rich red and darken to purple alongside leaves that flame red as they age. They work in sun or part shade and can even be grown in a pot.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ 

A robust upright shrub that works well in either full sun or part shade, any soil and any aspect, it produces masses of long lasting cone-shaped flowers that start green fading through to white and finally a delicate pink in autumn.  The flowers also last well in vases, are great for pollinators and the leaves provide vibrant autumn colour. 

Alchemilla mollis

No garden is complete without some ‘Lady’s Mantle’, it is both beautiful, useful, and unstoppable once established, coping with even the most ‘challenging’ of conditions.  Its scalloped shaped leaves gather the morning dew that then glisten like quicksilver below frothy lime green flowers that look equally wonderful in a border, pot or vase. 


Ranging from white to soft pink through to deep claret, these are a veritable feast for bees and pollinators. Extremely easy to grow, they work equally well in a border or pots to brighten up patios and produce armfuls of flowers that last well in vases.  They are perfect for filling gaps between slower growing perennials as borders mature.

Horticulturalist Jamie Butterworth is designing the Wedgwood Show Garden at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (June 5-9).

Jamie's new book, 50 Plants That You Can’t Kill, is out in May.